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Unseen Mumbai - Offbeat Experiences in the Mumbai You Don't Know About

While there is nothing that can top the experience of sitting at Marine Drive (especially at the peak of dawn and dust) and listening to the tranquil sound of the waves, there are a number of places in Mumbai that are yet to receive their due credit. If you wish to explore Mumbai beyond the most-talked-about places and experiences, then this article is for you. A curated list of Offbeat experiences in Mumbai that will make you fall in love with this dream city!

  • 1
    A Midnight Cycling Tour

    Pic Courtesy : @cloudfront

    A Midnight Cycling Tour

    Travel, Mumbai

    It is a known fact that Mumbai is a city that never sleeps, but it does slow down, even if it is just for a little while, it does. And this is when you and your new cycling buddies gear up to witness Mumbai in an entirely new form. The waves at Marine Drive will suddenly seem closer, the Gateway of India will look a little secluded, the CST more gigantic, the roads will widen and you will notice that Mumbai does in fact have footpaths! The point is, you get to see Mumbai for what it is, without a ‘crowd’ at every possible place. There are a lot of local cycling groups that undertake these cycling tours, while you and your friends can always take a tour on your own, we would suggest joining a cycling group. It comes with a lot of benefits like better-equipped personnel, plus you get to make new friends! This tour will make you look at Mumbai with a new, fresh perspective, even if you have always been an ardent Mumbaikar.

  • 2
    Walkthrough Khotachiwadi

    Pic Courtesy : @dnaindia

    Walkthrough Khotachiwadi

    Place To Visit, Mumbai

    Photographers, specifically, will find this place a beautiful delight amidst the high-end concrete building in South Mumbai. Khotachiwadi is actually a heritage village in Mumbai and is more than two centuries old! Situated in a small corner, in Girgaon, it is a small community of beautiful houses, most of which have walls painted in vibrant colours of yellow, blue, pink, red and more! The narrow lanes have houses that boast of a Portuguese style architecture which is strikingly different from the architecture found elsewhere in Mumbai. Sadly, today this beautiful village has reduced its number of houses and has revamped itself. But, don’t get disheartened, the beauty still remains intact! Stroll around this picturesque village, spot the graffiti, marvel at its architecture and don’t forget to ask for due permission before you put your camera to use.

  • 3
    Visit a Monolith in Mumbai!

    Pic Courtesy : @mid-day

    Visit a Monolith in Mumbai!

    Religious Places, Mumbai

    Amidst the many concrete buildings that Mumbai offers, there is a massive monolith called Gilbert Hill. This 200 ft tall, gigantic structure made entirely of black basalt, is 66 million years old! It came into existence as a result of a volcanic spread in the Mesozoic era. It is spread across 19,000 square miles and hosts two temples at the top, built in the later years of course. Now, you’d expect a site of such historical importance to be a tourist spot or at least a well-maintained spot, but alas, the ground-reality is pretty much the opposite. There are concrete buildings built as near as 12 metres from the hill, and the hill is surrounded by slums and debris from construction sites around. There is no proper entrance as such to the hill but there is one for the temple, and while the hill lays unattended, the temples are surprisingly, very well maintained and clean. The hill has begun eroding and is getting smaller and smaller every day, so you better hurry if you wish to enjoy the scenic view of Mumbai from atop!

  • 4
    Experience the magic of 1950’s Cinema

    Pic Courtesy : @travelindiadestinations

    Experience the magic of 1950’s Cinema

    Entertainment, Mumbai

    Interestingly, Bollywood was earlier known as Bombay Cinema. Till date, Mumbai stands to be the home-ground of the Indian-Hindi film industry. You’ll often find people remarking with delight about how Mumbai’s roads have more ‘stars’ than its skies. And so, it comes as no surprise that the city is also home to a lot of vintage cinemas, cinemas of Bombay that continue to entertain its audience even today, in Mumbai. The most popular among them is the Maratha Mandir at Mumbai Central, with movies like DDLJ and Mughal-E-Azam running for years and years on loop. Even today, the tickets here cost only as much as Rs. 25 – Rs. 35. Another prominent theatre is the Royal Talkies at Grant Road; this particular theatre began screening small documentaries and even plays much before it started showing Bollywood films. The list also contains Gulshan Theatre (Opera House), Capitol Cinema (CST), Imperial Cinema Hall (Grant Road), Edward Theatre (Dhobi Talao), and many more!

  • 5
    The Kanhoji Angre Island

    Pic Courtesy : @hotelierindia

    The Kanhoji Angre Island

    Place To Visit, Mumbai

    A soon-to-be legitimate tourist spot, the Kanhoji Angre Island is owned by the MbPT (Mumbai Port Trust). Currently, it is a barren hillock with not much to see except a lighthouse. The project undertaken to turn it into a tourist spot includes, building camping sites, light and razor show – most likely to show the island’s formation and its history, a temple, an overnight stay resort, cafeterias, and other basic amenities. Though this secluded place is a treat to visit in itself, you get to see a peaceful side to Mumbai, explore the lighthouse and watch the waves of the sea flock to and fro. The island is named after Kanhoji Angre, a great Maratha warrior who is said to have never lost a sea battle in his life. Kanhoji was born on the Konkan coast in around 1660’s and headed on to lead the then Maratha navy to its supremacy. He bravely fought against western invaders and his contributions made it a natural choice for the island to be renamed after him.

  • 6
    Take a trip to the world’s largest open launderette

    Pic Courtesy : @amazonaws

    Take a trip to the world’s largest open launderette

    Place To Visit, Mumbai

    Mumbai is famous for a lot of things and Dhobi Ghat happens to be one of them. While you may have heard a lot about the rac in Mahalaxmi, chances are you have little idea about the world’s largest open launderette situated in Mahalaxmi as well. If you visit this place in the morning, you will find it extremely busy with laundry from hotels, hospitals and homes. It has been a prominent part of Mumbai since ages, though this traditional launderette has got itself an upgrade with modern equipment like dryers, it still pretty much uses the traditional methods. There is no entry fee as such but then again, if we Indians know one thing the best, it is making the best out of every opportunity. And so, people here are likely to charge a fee – around Rs. 300 for Indians and Rs. 500 for foreigners. Though it is very unlikely for Indians to pay the said price, it’s a good thing we, collectively, have great bargaining skills. The people here are very friendly and are open to answering your questions about the place and if you paid the ‘entry fee’ then you won’t face any objections when it comes to photography as well.

  • 7
    A Chinese Temple in Mumbai!

    Pic Courtesy : @T2DIM

    A Chinese Temple in Mumbai!

    Religious Places, Mumbai

    That’s right, diversity crossing borders, here, in Mumbai. Historically speaking, Mumbai was actually home to a large section of the Chinese community, between the 1950s–60s. However, soon after the Sino-Indian war took place, many Chinese residents migrated out of the, then called, Chinatown. A place that is called Dockyard Road now, is in Mazgaon, Mumbai. It still is a home for a handful of Chinese inhabitants much thinner in numbers than earlier. Naturally, this is also the place where you find Mumbai’s only Chinese temple – The Kwan Kung Temple. It is a beautiful little temple, with Chinese text on the red-coloured walls. The temple is usually quiet and secluded unless it is the Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival. During these times, the temple is lighted up, decorated and you can hear the chants and music playing in the background. If you plan on visiting this temple then I would suggest you wear something in red, it’s considered to be the most auspicious colour in the Chinese culture.

  • 8
    Explore the Unexplored Beach

    Pic Courtesy : @google

    Explore the Unexplored Beach

    Place To Visit, Mumbai

    Without a doubt, Juhu beach and Chowpatty are splendid beaches with an array of activities, food stalls and games line up across their length, Mumbai is actually home to more than just these two beaches. Dana Pani beach, in Malad, being (arguably) one of the most underrated beaches. This particular beach isn’t as busy as the other ones, there are no such food stalls or game areas here. It is a rather peaceful place with a breath-taking view. Since it isn’t amongst the ‘most-visited’ places, it tends to be a lot cleaner and a quiet place with minimum human interference.  So, if you wish to enjoy a calm evening or an uplifting morning, make sure you check this beach out and enjoy its serene environment. A ride to this beach would feel like you have left Mumbai for an offbeat experience, whereas it is situated right here in Malad.

  • 9
    The Pandavkada Falls

    Pic Courtesy : @tripadvisor

    The Pandavkada Falls

    Place To Visit, Mumbai

    Monsoons bring out a side of Mumbai that is most definitely not a peaceful one. Floods, delay in trains, heavier traffic, building and tree collapse, the list goes on. However, it comes with its set of benefits as well. For instance, in no other weather do chai and pakoras taste as delicious. And if you are an admirer of this weather, then the Pandavkada falls should be at the top of your bucket list, for some offbeat experiences in Mumbai. Its name is derived from the belief that the Pandavas took bath under it when they came from the big tunnel that is adjoined to the falls. You will find it in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, approximately at around 8-9 kilometres from the Kharghar railway station. Usually, this place isn’t visited by many but during the monsoon season, you are sure to be welcomed by an overwhelming crowd. Ensure safety measures are taken at all times because it is as dangerous as it is beautiful.

  • 10
    A Mini-Varanasi in Mumbai!

    Pic Courtesy : @T2DIM

    A Mini-Varanasi in Mumbai!

    Religious Places, Mumbai

    A beautiful large freshwater tank lies hidden in South Mumbai; it is called the Banganga Tank. It has a fascinating mythological story about its origin. People say that when Lord Ram and his brother Lakshman were on their quest to find Sita, they took a halt here. And when Lord Ram asked Lakshman to fetch him some water, he took out his arrow and created this freshwater body that we see today. The water here is considered holy and is said to symbolize the Ganges. Thus, its name Bangana literally stands for arrow – ‘ban’ and Ganges – ‘Ganga’. Considering that this is holy water, most families come here to immerse the ashes of their deceased as part of the Hindu ritual. Walking down the stairs of this tank, surrounded by the birds that flock around here often, you will agree that it does in fact look and feel like a Mini-Varanasi. During Diwali, it is the most beautiful, as an aarti similar to Ganga aarti in “North’ is performed here with so many dias, lights, many priests and auspicious music. It is indeed a sight to behold and to be captured by your camera.

 
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